Terry Beigie and Kathleen Borrelli, of the Greene County Record, earned a first place award for the first time ever from the Virginia Farm Bureau. The Greene County Record tied with the Kilmarnock-based Rappahannock Record, which marked its fifth consecutive win and its 14th in the past 16 years for the best coverage of farming and agriculture over the past year. The Record had earned Honorable Mentions for its coverage in the previous two years.
The awards focused only on articles written between September 2019 and September 2020.
Several articles submitted discussed the impact of this year’s coronavirus pandemic on local farmers: including “Pat a Farmer on the Back” from April 2; “COVID-19’s farming impact gloomy” from June 4; and how local beef farms were impacted on July 23. Additional articles including a feature story about pawpaws (including recipes) on Sept. 5, 2019, and how the late-spring cold snap impacted local wineries from June 11. Submitted articles also covered other agricultural-related topics, such as canning, farm safety, stolen fleece, land conservation, the start of an alpaca group at 4-H and more.
The Farm Bureau Federation’s Journalism Awards recognize exemplary ongoing coverage of agriculture issues, practices and events by print and broadcast news operations. Winners would have been honored this month during the VFBF Annual Convention, which had to be canceled and moved to a virtual platform due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Kathleen and I have focused a lot of our time and effort to ensure the agricultural community’s contribution to Greene County is highlighted in the Greene County Record,” said Terry Beigie, editor. “We have a lot of ideas for upcoming newspaper issues, though we are always looking for additional ideas. We will continue to work hard to continue to spotlight our agricultural producers.”
Borrelli has been a reporter for the Record since November 2019.
“Because so many sports and events were canceled this year, we were lucky enough to have the time to focus on a lot of farm-related features over the summer,” Borrelli said. “My favorite part of this job is getting to meet so many wonderful people in our community and share their stories.”
Other winners include Casey Fabris, a business reporter for The Roanoke Times, who earned the bureau's 2020 Ishee-Quann Award for Media Excellence, the top honor in the newspaper category.
WDBJ7 in Roanoke morning anchor Neesey Payne earned her second consecutive award in the television category.
Frank Wilt, operations manager of WSVA in Harrisonburg, won the radio category for a second consecutive year.
Honorable mentions went to Jessica Wetzler of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg and news team members Hayley Henson, Santiago Melli-Huber, Eric Pointer and Kara Thompson of television station WFXR in Roanoke.
With 130,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, the Virginia Farm Bureau Foundation is Virginia's largest farmers' advocacy group.
“We look forward to telling more stories of the people of Greene County,” Beigie said.
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